No, the Valorant influencers running all those stream giveaways aren’t being paid by Riot

Or in other words: Video games advertising in 2020

    
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No, the Valorant influencers running all those stream giveaways aren’t being paid by Riot

We’ve talked before about how Valorant has been making big numbers on Twitch spurred mostly by beta keys being dished out for watching streams, but an Engadget interview with Valorant’s head of marketing Nikki Lewis has dived deeper into the rabbit hole of using Twitch streamers as a marketing platform for the shooter, confirming, among other things, that streamers of the game are getting no money for their broadcasts:

“During closed beta, we have not paid any streamer to stream Valorant. Our goal is to sustain a community for years, even decades, to come, and so our efforts are being put toward building a long-lasting relationship with streamers, looking for things that are of value where we can support the businesses they are trying to build.”

As for what those long-lasting relationships will involve, it mostly deals with exclusives including in-game perks, access to the Valorant devs, promotional support, and even inclusion in reveals. Valorant also continues to benefit via getting feedback from streamers, who often have a pulse on what players want and what improvements should be made to the game.

And the quid pro quo is working: Fortnite World Cup runner-up Harrison “psalm” Chang, Fortnite streamer Jake “Poach” Brumleve, and Overwatch pro player John “Wanted” Lin have all confirmed their move to more Valorant content, with Brumleve decrying Epic Games’ treament of the Fortnite competitive scene.

Bear in mind that Valorant’s own esports strategy right now is mostly hands-off, simply writing a set of guidelines for third parties to follow.

“The reason we’ve been popular with streamers is that we’re oriented toward getting to know them, having deeper relationships with them, understanding their feedback about the game, playing the game with them,” argues Lewis in the interview. “We’ve got a lot of our developers out there playing with influencers and just sort of just bear-hugging them and welcoming them in. That was an explicit marketing strategy of ours.”

This isn’t to infer that Twitch streamers are victims in all of this. Many streamers have leveraged viewers’ desire for keys by running 24/7 broadcasts, thereby seeing their viewership numbers balloon in the process. This seems to sow further problems, with channel communities full of key resellers instead of fans as well as pushing away other streamers who regularly go live. Incidentally, the key reselling market for Valorant is also booming, with some keys selling for as much as $150.

sources: Engadget, Kotaku

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IronSalamander8 .

150 for a key for this game? People are nuts.

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Dobablo

So it is exactly like almost every video game website and magazine that ever existed? At least the steamers receiving giveaway keys and in-game items have to admit that they are sponsored content.

“Long-lasting relationships” with developer access and inclusion in reveals are more dodgy because they are intangible and less transparent. There is an implied threat in that term, be nice to us or you won’t be included in the future. Unfortunately, this is hard to police and games companies have been using access to ensure positive influence for the last 50 years.

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Robert Mann

They ‘Aren’t paying them’ but… they are giving them keys that are in demand to give away, which brings viewers and thus revenue.

So yes, they ARE paying them. They are merely doing so indirectly. It’s like saying that you aren’t paying somebody because you are giving them the equivalence in gold ingots instead of dollar bills. Simply put, it’s scummy word-twisting.

Add in extra perks, plus rewards that give a good fiscal return, and it sure sounds like a paid job with benefits like most others to me…

Not that I really care personally, as the games involved and the people involved are ones I really have no interest in, but it sure does read as saying “That’s not a duck despite it’s duckiness and quack, it’s a wallaby!”

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Bruno Brito

“During closed beta, we have not paid any streamer to stream Valorant. Our goal is to sustain a community for years, even decades, to come, and so our efforts are being put toward building a long-lasting relationship with streamers, looking for things that are of value where we can support the businesses they are trying to build.”

“OUR STUDENTS ARE NOT ATHLETES!”

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Sorenthaz

Wouldn’t key reselling just be the same as account selling? Lol. At least with the Twitch drops it automatically glues to whatever account you link.

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Utakata

Volorant is a name I would give to a vampire… o.O

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cursedseishi

And Voldorant is “He who must not be named… maybe”. I’ve heard he’s really unpleasant in debates!

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Hikari Kenzaki

The lie in this is so painfully obvious. If they were looking to build a community of streamers, they’d tap several dozen small to mid-size streamers and help them grow by giving out promotional items.

That’s not what they are doing. They are simply trying to get the most eyes off their competitors and put them on their product. You do that by going after the big streamers.

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Random MMO fan

Of course, they are simply advertising their product and they are doing it in best way possible, this should be obvious to any rational person.

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Bruno Brito

Not the point she’s clearly making.

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Robert Mann

They don’t want to build a community of streamers. They want to build a community out of already known streamers who can give them maximum recognition.

I think the ‘build’ you are thinking of is not the one they are thinking of…

*I agree that they are being scummy about this, but that one is at least a contextual point rather than a direct conflict and twisting of words.*

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Random MMO fan

Don’t really care what Riot does or what certain streamer prostitutes do to exploit the situation with keys. I have plenty of streamers to watch who do not do this and do not care if Riot provides any benefits for streamers who stream Valorant. Some, ironically, have much more subs than streamers who streamed Valorant for long enough time even though they had less viewers than Valorant streamers, and sub numbers are more important since this is a guaranteed income regardless of how long streamer streams or how often the streamer shows Ads.

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agemyth 😩

Riot isn’t paying them, but if they play Riot’s game they get paid more.

“The reason we’ve been popular with streamers is that we’re oriented toward getting to know them, having deeper relationships with them, understanding their feedback about the game, playing the game with them,” argues Lewis in the interview. “We’ve got a lot of our developers out there playing with influencers and just sort of just bear-hugging them and welcoming them in. That was an explicit marketing strategy of ours.”

And to think that there is still a segment of the gaming audience that claims to be angry with ethics in games writing while this kind of marketing has become bigger than games writing ever could be.

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Jeremy Barnes

“we have not paid any streamer to stream Valorant”

Note: they also chose their language carefully. They have paid no one to *stream* Valorant. It doesn’t say they haven’t straight up paid them directly for *other* things…or paid them to stream it in the future..

Along with everything you describe, it feels like a lot of sketchy going on.

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Robert Mann

They haven’t “Paid” them. They gave them things that will earn them money on said streams, but it wasn’t a direct deposit… Surely their lawyers can claim ignorance of that aspect of things for them…

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Greaterdivinity

streamers, who often have a pulse on what players want and what improvements should be made to the game

Whoa now…I’m gonna hard-disagree on this. Streamers know what THEY want, and by proxy the “community” wants because their viewers want what they want and they think they reflect the whole community. A big gripe for me with games lately is that developers often seem to spend a lot of time paying attention to these streamers and designing around their impressions/feedback, often to the detriment of the game.

The reason we’ve been popular with streamers is that we’re oriented toward getting to know them, having deeper relationships with them, understanding their feedback about the game, playing the game with them

“Also, we’re Riot Games and they know we’ve got billions to play with. They know sponsorships will likely be coming down the road and there will be other financial and business incentives for their channels so they’re getting in early. Also because streamers anticipate this being the next big game and they want in on the ground floor.”

Man, this is like bragging that you got Fortnite on GMA. No, dude, GMA called you and asked if you wanted Fortnite on and you said yes. This is some navel-gazing nonsense.

Incidentally, the key reselling market for Valorant is also booming, with some keys selling for as much as $150.

You don’t say : P